National Basketball Association
Villanova 85, Butler 66
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Where: William B. Finneran Pavilion, Villanova, Pennsylvania
Officials: # Joe Lindsay, # Jeffrey Anderson, # Evan Burroughs
Attendance: N/A

Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each scored 18 points to lift No. 7 Villanova past visiting Butler 85-66 on Wednesday.

Justin Moore added 13 for the Wildcats, who improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big East on their way to a fourth straight win. Jermaine Samuels added 12 points.

The victory was the 600th of head coach Jay Wright's career, which began in 1994 for seven seasons at Hofstra. This is Wright's 20th season with Villanova and the latest home opener for the program since 1994.

Jair Bolden led Butler (1-1, 0-1) with 18 points while Aaron Thompson added 14 and Chuck Harris had 12.

Butler jumped out to a 17-10 lead with 14:46 left in the first half, thanks in large part to 13 quick points from Bolden.

Villanova responded with some stingy team defense and soon took a 22-21 advantage with 10:25 remaining after Moore dropped in a deep 3-pointer.

Consecutive treys by Gillespie and Caleb Daniels extended Villanova's lead to 30-24.

Samuels drove to the basket and pushed Villanova's lead to 38-28 with 2:20 to go.

The Bulldogs, who hadn't played because of COVID-19 issues since a season-opening win over Western Michigan on Nov. 25, started 9 of 11 from the field. But they closed 4 of 14 and trailed 41-34 at halftime.

Butler came out aggressive in the second half and closed within 43-41 when Bolden hit his fourth 3-pointer.

The Wildcats came right back with two quick baskets to move ahead by six, 47-41.

Cole Swider made a trey from the wing with 11:29 remaining for a 55-46 Villanova advantage.

Butler closed back within 59-53 when Harris made a 3-pointer.

Robinson-Earl scored in the paint, Daniels then added a trey and the Wildcats pulled ahead 64-53 with 7:59 left.

Thompson, who made his 94th career start in this game, hit a difficult shot in the lane and Butler cut the deficit to 66-57 with 5:59 left.

But Thompson soon limped off the court with 4:36 left with an apparent leg injury and Villanova took advantage with a late run to seal the win.

--Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
Butler   Villanova
Jair Bolden 18 Scoring Collin Gillespie 18
Aaron Thompson 6 Assists Collin Gillespie 5
Bryce Nze 8 Rebounds Jermaine Samuels 6
Jair Bolden 4 Free Throws Made Collin Gillespie 6
N/A Steals Collin Gillespie 1
John-Michael Mulloy 1 Blocks Caleb Daniels 1
Team Stats Summary
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Butler 66 48.9 7-15 15-24 11 25 1 0 15
Villanova 85 50.0 10-23 17-22 18 28 1 2 6